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Busy Day Lemon Bars Easy And Crazy Good

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Last Modified: January 30, 2020
Published: January 30, 2020

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This recipe for lemon bars made me think back to YEARS ago when our girls were in high school. I was a working mom and perpetually in a rush. I started baking what I called "idiot cookies." (Credit to Peg Bracken's snarky humor in her "I Hate to Cook" cookbook.)

It's completely politically incorrect to use that term today. Happily, I've changed my ways! Now I call them Desperation Cookies!

lemon bars stacked thre high

Lemon Bars This Easy Should Not Taste So Good

Here is how these lemon bars came about. One cold November night, I remembered my old cake mix cookie trick and wrote about it here. The recipe has been shared and shared. That tells me we all live in a state of constant hurry.

desperation cookies chocolate and peanut butter cookies

When You Are Too Lazy To Make Cookies

Make bars! Don't get me wrong! Desperation cookies are fantastic. I've made dozens and dozens to share at our grandkids' ball games, potlucks, and family meals.

But then one night, I was bone tired and totally done dealing. Even "idiot cookies" were too much for me to face.

I couldn't muster the gumption to shape the dough into 36 balls. So, I just patted the dough into a bar pan. Guess what? It worked great!

Ever since then, these simple lemon bars made from a cake mix have shot to the top of the chart as a favorite!

lemon bars with glaze, one bar missing

Does anyone remember Toll House Bars? Of course, you do because they're amazing! At some point, a "smart cookie" came up with the idea of spreading cookie dough in a bar pan. Voila! A classic was born!

The first time I tried making Desperation Cookies into bars, I used a yellow cake mix with toffee chips and they turned out great! After that, I was off and running!

You Will Need:

  • Box of cake mix
  • Eggs
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Chips of your choice
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Mixing Spoon
  • Non-Stick Cooking Spray
  • Baking Pan 11" x 7" or 9" x 9"

Choose Any Cake Mix and Chip Combo

Whatever cake mix/chip combo you choose, the method is the same. What's more, the possibilities are almost endles!!

lemon bar ingredients

Combine Cake Mix Eggs And Oil

lemon bar ingredients

Stir It Up And Add Chips

lemon bar batter, adding chips

Pat In A Sprayed Pan And Bake

crazy good lemon bars

Lemon Bars Are A Lemon Lovers Dream

We all love lemon desserts so a little lemon glaze was a no-brainer! Of all the variations I've tried, this is the only one I glaze because they just cried out for a bit more tang!

You can skip the glaze, it's up to you! They're delicious either way!

Yield: 16 bars

Crazy Good, Busy Day Lemon Bars

Crazy Good, Busy Day Lemon Bars

One bowl, one spoon. Easy and fast lemon bars that melt in your mouth.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes


  • Bars:
  • 1 box lemon cake mix
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup white baking chips
  • 2 eggs
  • Glaze:
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract


  1. Combine cake mix, oil, and eggs.
  2. Stir until blended.
  3. Stir in baking chips. Pat into a sprayed 7" x 11" bar pan or 9" x 9" square pan.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees about 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown.
  5. Cool.
  6. Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice to make a glaze.
  7. Drizzle over cooled bars. Cut and serve.

Don't Stop With Lemon Bars

Try these variations too!

*Yellow cake mix + toffee bits! They are the favorite of our grandson's buddy Brandt! We call them Brandt bars!

*Yellow cake mix + cinnamon chips and cinnamon sugar on top! Busy day Snickerdoodle Bars!

*Spice cake mix + butterscotch or caramel chips! A perfect bar for fall!

*Chocolate cake mix + peppermint bits or peanut butter chips! So yummy!

*Lemon cake mix + cherry chips! The cutest polka-dots!

*Strawberry cake mix + white chocolate chips or mini chocolate chips! (Oooh, maybe this one would be good with a little chocolate glaze!)

Let Your Imagination Run Wild

After all, has there ever been a BAD bar cookie? What is YOUR favorite bar cookie?

If you enjoyed this recipe today, please share it on your social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. I’d sure be tickled and ever so grateful, thank you! 

If you haven’t already, check out my Facebook page where I’ll be posting easy, delicious and family-friendly recipes every week!

Love, GB (Betty Streff)

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7 comments on “Busy Day Lemon Bars Easy And Crazy Good”

  1. I want to make the lemon bar cookies but I don't care for chocolate chips. Can I just leave them out, or use shredded coconut instead?

    1. Those are not chocolate chips. They are white baking chips- more like almond bark- there's a picture of the bag on the post, Donna. They add a smooth creamy bite to each bar- bet you would like them. Shredded coconut might be good but I haven't tried that- I think I'd use a moist coconut like Bakers if I give it a whirl!!

  2. […] something sweet for them and often it’s something simple like Desperation Cookies or a pan of Lemon Bars. As the kids file out the door and back to class, they grab and go. I’ll never forget these […]

  3. […] P.S. If you like the idea of easy and good bars in a hurry, here’s another one that has been really popular. Busy Day Lemon Bars. […]

  4. […] Do you have a favorite lemon dessert? Here’s another one I know you’ll love and it is super easy! Busy Day Lemon Bars. […]

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